1. I have missed my periods. I am scared I may be pregnant. What to do?
Of course if you had sex you may be pregnant even if you were using protection, as nothing is 100%. The first thing to do in that case is to get your urine tested for pregnancy. This may be done by picking up a pregnancy test kit at any chemist shop. It is not always essential to take a morning sample, if tested after a week of the missed period. Pregnancy can be detected as early as a couple of days after the missed period date. Instructions of testing are clearly inscribed over the packet.
2. Can abortions be done without an operation?
Yes. There are medicines, which can be prescribed to induce abortions. This should always be done under the supervision of a doctor and are most effective (>95% completion rate) in the first two months of pregnancy.
3. How reliable is a medical abortion? Is it painful?
Done in the first seven weeks the efficacy is close to 99%. Till 9 weeks it is still reliable in up to 95% cases. Thereafter the efficacy falls. Yes the process is painful but usually well tolerated with oral analgesics. Hospitalization is often not necessary but hospital backup should be available in an emergency.
4. What are the problems of abortions if I get it done in a ‘cheap’ place?
By ‘cheap’ place I presume you mean the illegal and untrained care providers. This leaves you at a risk of complications like severe bleeding, uterine perforation, bowel injury and infection in the short term and chronic pain and sub fertility in the long run. You may actually die from the procedure. One Indian mother dies every 40 minutes due to an illegal abortion.
5.How can I be sure the abortion is complete?
One way is waiting for the next period, which makes it pretty clear and simple. Alternately, an ultrasound examination could reveal an empty womb/uterus, three weeks after the procedure confirming completion. Pregnancy tests can remain positive for several weeks after an abortion and are not good guides.